The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Mar 25, 2011

Note to Readers: As you probably have noticed, many familiar discussion-related features on have moved as part of the recent redesign. We apologize for any inconvenience and confusion. Here are a few links to help you find your way around:

- The weekly chat schedule
- The Discussions and Debates page, which will feature recent and upcoming chats and a full daily schedule.

Thanks for bearing with us during this transition. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to send us an email.

Get your Friday Live Fix as Chris Cillizza discusses the Friday Line, the Worst Week in Washington, Congress, the Obama administration and all the latest political news.

Happy Friday!

I am still recovering from the shock of Casey Abrahms nearly getting voted off Idol last night so I might not be at my best this morning.

The big political news of the day? Connie Mack will NOT run for the Senate in Florida.

Let's get started.

How crowded is that Florida Senate primary going to get?

I think we know the basic outline of the field now that Mack is out.

Mike Haridipolos, Adam Hasner and George Lemieux are going to be in.

There's always the possibility that some rich business dude gets in --  ala Rick Scott and Jeff Greene in 2010 -- but it's hard to see who right now.

It's going to be a very expensive primary.

Although I'm not convinced she's going to run, how formidable do you think Bachmann could be if Palin and Huckabee don't run?

Relatively formidable.

Bachmann has three big things going for her:

1. She can raise money. She brought in $13.5 million for a HOUSE RACE in 2010. That's a lot of cash.

2. She has a loyal base. Bachmann is beloved by tea party types. 

3. She was born in Iowa. Bachmann can make the favorite daughter case to Iowans and that coupled with her conservativism could be powerful.

Is Bachmann a frontrunner? Not close. But those who dismiss her as a fringe candidate may be surprised by how well she runs  -- if she runs.

Also, good Bachmann reading from Jmart at Politico this am.

Nice (and fair) pieces on T-Paw earlier this week. I had one additional plus and one minus: he has started building a real team (policy, fundraising and operative boots on the ground). Knock: he likely would not carry his own state against Obama. And haven't the odds of an Obama primary challenger emerging gone up exponentially with the Libya military action? Like from 1 percent to 20?

Both fair points on Tpaw.

He absolutely has put together a solid team and that can matter when the race gets heated -- and it will get heated.

As for an Obnama primary challenge, I still don't see it. You don't beat something with nothing. And right now those people urging a primary challenge don't even have a semi-serious candidate to rally behind.

Chris, Last week you said "And the odds of someone not named George Allen being the GOP nominee are similar to the odds of Georgetown losing to VCU. Slim." So will Bob Marshall or Jamie Radtke be the Virginia GOP candidate for the Senate? Go Rams!!!


Not even close. VCU pummeled Georgetown.

It made me feel slightly better that they then pummeled Purdue too. But only slightly better.

So, with the botched non-announcement of his "exploratory committee," his love of country being the reason why he cheated on his wives, and his being in favor of attacking Libya before he was against it, is Newt's presidential campaign essentially over before it begins?

Not over before it begins but it's clearly not the start that Newt had hoped for. Same goes for Haley Barbour.

I think the struggles of both men point to just how hard running for president and make Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty look quite good by comparison. 

Neither has made a major mistake yet.

Does Mitt know the secret of the Opera House?

I believe you are outrunning my BattleStar Galactica knowledge. (I am only in the middle of season 2.)

One thing Dr. Baltar and Mitt-en have in common: terrific hair.

Was Donald Trump switching to talk about the birth certificate of President Obama just a diversion from talk about his hair?

And we now have two political hair questions in this chat. That has to be some kind of record.

Chris, Do you think Senator Kohl is retiring?

Good question.

People I talk to say they expect him to run but acknowledge he hasn't made any final decisions.

If Kohl runs, he almost certainly wins -- barring a major mistake on the trail which seems unlikely.

If he retires, that will be a terrific open seat race and pickup opportunity for Republicans.

Is it too much to hope that Michele Bachmann could team up with Ohio Republican Mike Turner (R) so that we could have a Bachmann-Turner Overdrive event?

I really think this needs to happen. We don't ask for much.  I think the political gods can grant us this one wish.

They still need to fix your avatar. It looks like you just spent the night in jail hungover.

What if I did?

Why isn't the Washington Post sending you to cover the Argentina - US friendly tomorrow? You're clearly the best reporter they've got, and this game clearly implicates foreign affairs / presidential politics. I won't stand for this.

I, too, am outraged.

Now that Argentina has (finally) jettisoned Maradona, they should get back on track.

Also, where does Lionel Messi fit in the rankings of the world's greatest active athletes? Has to be top 5 right?

Good work posting the trivia questions and answers last weekend! (crickets...)


I forgot. I will punish myself later by watching "Two and a Half Men" on a loop.

Then I will post them. Either later today or tomorrow. You have my word.

Let's concede she's not a serious candidate for election, but if she corners the hard-right tin-hat voters, what kind of influence might she wield?

See above. Dismiss her at your own peril. I don't think she's viable for the nomination but I think she absolutely can have an impact on the race -- and likely will pull the nomination fight further to the ideological right.

If Romney gets the GOP nomination, who does he pick as his VP running mate?

I think it depends how the nomination plays out.

Presidential nominees often feel compelled to give it to the guy (or gal) who is perceived to have finished second.

But, that doesn't always work out. (Kerry-Edwards, for example).

I think Republicans have to figure out a way to solve their political problems with Hispanics -- and soon. Best way to start doing that? Pick Marco Rubio or Susana Martinez for veep.

Why didn't Mack get in the race?

He cited family as the main reasons. He has yound kids and his wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, represents a Palm Springs (California) congressional seat.

Running statewide would make it VERY difficult for them to all be together, well, ever.

Is it possible that President Obama will get reelected yet lose the Democratic majority in the Senate?

Absolutely. I am not sure if I would call it probable just yet but it's a definite possibility.

The numbers in the Senate are just tough for Democrats. They have to defend 23 seats to just 10 for Republicans.  

Chris, I know you aren't a big fan of Trump questions, but at this point do you expect him to show up at a primary debate or is this all one head fake?

Head fake -- even if he shows up at the debates.

This is a stunt. Going to write about it on the Fix later today if time warrants. 

Was Pat Buchanan a semi-serious challenge to Bush in 1992 before the primaries?

Fair enough.


1. Bush won

2. I don't even see a Pat Buchanan level candidate out there at the moment. Do you?

Wouldn't Michele Bachmann knock him out of the GOP Presidential primary if she chooses to run early? Two Minnesotans? I think not.

I don't think so.

While you rightly note they have the same home state, they have totally different approaches to the race, constituencies and styles of campaigning.

I tend to think Bachmann affects Palin, Huckabee and Santorum more than she does Pawlenty.

Of course, I thought G'town would beat VCU last week and picked Duke to win the tourney. So....

Lorne Greene and Dirk Benedict had some great hair, too.

Well played.

Is Ensign still going to run for reelection to the US Senate from Nevada after this? Former Ensign Love Triangle Aide Indicted For Post-Senate Lobbying

I am confident in predicting he won't.

Why? He announced it a few weeks ago

Will Sanford make a political comeback? What's up with him and his "soulmate" these days? Has one of them dumped the other yet?

I cannot imagine him making a political comeback although if Eliot Spitzer is going to run for office than Sanford probably can too.

Last I checked Sanford and his Argentine soul mate were still being seen together. Admittedly, however, I am not tracking every development...

If Bachman does decide to run, would that indicate that Palin is unlikely to run? I know all the standard caveats about predicting Palin's moves, but it would seem that Bachman would coordinate with Palin on something like this.

I am not sure Palin coordinates with anyone outside of the First Dude.

That is just not how she approaches politics.  So, I would be careful in reading anything at all into Bachmann's entrance when it comes to Palin.

Financial Disclosure Form(s)

Correct. That will be featured prominently in my "debunking The Donald" Fix post.

Folks, this is not a serious campaign. Or even close.

I realize this is hard-hearted, but Gabrielle Giffords' 3 months window to return to work is just about over. How soon will the Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer declare Giffords' congressional seat vacant and hold a new election? They must be drooling over the prospect of another Republican seat.

I cannot imagine that happening.  I think there would be a huge outcry if they tried.

What are you thoughts on this race 2 months out?


This is one of the least talked about special election I have ever seen.

The simple fact is that the seat is likely to be heavily altered in redistricting so I don't think either side is playing all that heavily.

My expectation is that Jane Corwin, the Republican, will win given the partisan composition of the seat. And Democrats may not spend a dime in the district.

The only people who have legitimate voices for the radio are Lauren and Hayley. Try closing your eyes next time and youll discover that. The rest is just a weird contest with voting blocs and campaigns.

Hayley? WHAAAAT?

My top 3: Pia, Casey Abrahms and Paul.

Paul is the new Rod Stewart. He may win.

Re: Bachmann -- when was the last time a sitting representative won a nomination? Without Googling, I can't think of any who have been elected.

Last time a sitting House member was elected president was in 1880 when James Garfield won. (That was a "Politics and Pints" question in March!!!)

I'm going to Vegas in a few weeks. Wouldn't it be great if we could gamble on politics like we can on sports? Like the UK, where you can bet on everything. The Fix would be my go-to site for all my political gambling information!

Yes. I am in favor of this.

I would LOVE to set odds on all the Senate races.

Of course, I am the WORST gambler in history. My one experience in a casino: I lost $100 on five straight hands playing blackjack. Good times.

Interesting comment on Marco Rubio as a hypothetical running mate, or presidential candidate of his own some day. Why, though, do observers appear to think that just putting a Latino candidate at or near the top of the ticket will somehow galvanize Hispanic support for the GOP? Rubio is of Cuban descent (not Mexican-American, like a majority of Hispanic voters), and I'm skeptical that his greater involvement at the nat'l level will make much of an impression with Hispanic voters overall. That is, without ideological affiliation, I doubt ethnic affilation alone will make much of a difference in this day and age. How do you see this issue?


I don't think simply nominating Rubio would solve Republicans problems with Hispanics. I just think it would be a symbolic start.

The broader problem when it comes to courting Hispanics is the party's positioning on immigration issues. And I am not sure how they square that circle.

The most interesting part of her candidacy is how Pawlenty treats her. A significant part of the Minnesota GOP thinks she's a bit batty, and she's run through more chiefs of staff than Prince has had name changes. Yet a strong sector of female activists in Minnesota love her. She will get lots of attention, but isn't it likely she turns off as many as she turns on?


I think Tpaw has, smartly, been very gracious about Bachmann and should stay that way. No reason to try to tear her down since, as I said above, they don't really share a voting constituency.

As for how Bachmann will wear on voters, I am genuinely uncertain. She has a penchant for making verbal goofs and the left will tear her apart every time she does.

But as we have seen with Palin, Bachmann could well be strengthened in some segments of the GOP by dint of being attacked from the left.

Uh, the AZ law applied to state officials. Brewer has no power to declare Giffords' seat vacant.

And wouldn't even if she did...

Wouldn't Kucinich rise up to Buchanan level? He could run on immediately withdrawing from all foreign conflicts and a single payer health care plan. He wouldn't win, but the point is primary challenges to a sitting president since Truman in 1952 have ended with the sitting president not winning the general election.

He would be marginally credible. But, he would have NO money and so it would be very hard for him to communicate a serious message against Obama.

Like I said, stranger things have happened but I just don't see Obama strategists worrying all that much about a challenge from the left.

What's the line on Daniels running-- it seems to be going down. So much easier to be " thinking about it" than doing it, n'cest pas?

He hasn't said all that much and when he has said anything he seems to be suggesting his timetable to decide, which was originally next month, might be slipping.

It seems to me Daniels is throwing up hurdles for why he can't run  (or at least decide about running). That suggests, well, that he probably won't run.

A. I guess I would have known that if the trivia questions and answers had been posted. B. Hate to say it, but neither Garfield's election nor his presidency is a very inspiring thought for Bachmann.

I AM GOING TO POST THEM! I swear.  Today or tomorrow. Apologies for not doing it sooner.

How likely are Indiana Republicans to defeat him in a Senate primary, or otherwise push him aside? He's one of the last remaining voices of Republican sanity.

Lugar is in deep trouble for reelection.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is in the race and totalyl credible.

Lugar doesn't seem to grasp the depth of electoral danger he is in, regularly badmouthing tea party types -- not smart.

Just for fun, who are some names for the Democratic side of a presidential race (assuming Obama wins re-election and can't run again)? Obviously, Mark Warner, Martin O'Malley, and Andrew Cuomo, but is there anyone else or do those three suck up all the oxygen?

You named the big ones.

I think Warner and O'Malley are VERY likely to be in.

Cuomo may depend on how his efforts to close the budget gap in the state go over the next few years.

Brian Schweitzer, outgoing Montana governor, is also an intriguing possibility and wants a role on the national stage....

Who else did I miss?

There's been an incumbents' deal among Virginia's entire delegation where every single congressperson's seat is now going to be made safer, Rs and Ds alike. As a Democratic volunteer (most recently for Connolly), I find this demoralizing. Am I correct that this deal shuts the door on any hope of Tom Perriello regaining his old seat?

I think that's right. That was already a really tough district that Perriello won in a tremendous year in the state for Democrats.

For more on what the VA lines might look like, check out Fix Aaron's terrific Mapping the Future piece on the Commonwealth.

The Rock has returned to the WWE after a 7 year absence and he's lighting the place up. Is there any politician out there who's been completely off the scene since 2002 or so that could come in and shake the house today?

Jeb Bush.

He is The Rock of Republican politics.


Whenever you DO post them, can you make sure they're easy to find on the new Post website?

Here's an easy way to ensure you see them. Make The Fix your homepage.

(For the few dozen of you who don't already have The Fix as your homepage, of course.)

This is a classic and proven sales technique, something you public-sector folks wouldn't have been exposed to: set up a straw man objection and knock it down before the buyer uses it against you.

I don't mean that.

He isn't saying "Maybe I am just not conservative enough to run". He is saying things like the legislative battles in the IN legislature could push his timetable to decide too far back and that sort of thing.

Which, again, makes me think he is looking for a reason not to run. And, to reiterate, I could be wrong. See G'town over VCU pick.

He was mayor, then senator, when I was a kid. And I'm old now. It's time.

He better hope most people don't think like that....

If she doesn't run, does she endorse anyone? In some primary states -- ie South Carolina -- her backing could really matter, no?

I think she does. 

And, yes, her endorsement absolutely could matter. While the number of people who can rightly be called Palin loyalists within the GOP has shrunk considerably, there are still lots and lots of them.

Chill out dudes and dudettes. In between DVD's of Battlestar and Idol season 4, I am confident that Chris will post P & P. If just to shut us up.

So true.  Except throw a little Leap Frog in there too for Fix Jr. Tad, Leap and Lily are his posse.

Hey, I'm right here being Secretary of State. You ignore me at your own peril, you b--tard. Oh, sorry, for a second there I thought I was talking to Bill.


So true. Hillary has said she doesn't want any other office and won't run for any. But, until she makes a Sherman-esque statement about 2016 -- and maybe even after that -- people will keep floating her name.

IF she runs, she is the favorite. 

OK, so does Obama go with Joe for VP again next year, or look at the likelies for 2016 and pick an heir apparent?

Joe B -- God love him -- will be on the ticket next year. Any other talk makes NO sense.

Did Newt Gingrich do anything to change the perception of him as an opportunist. His Libya position looks like a flip flop

It certainly didn't help him. At all.

I know we're all upset about the men, but the women smacked Maryland around. Despite being a Nutmeg Stater, you're rooting for GU on Sunday, right?


That said, I don't see the Lady Hoyas beating Uconn.  I don't see anyone beaying Uconn, frankly.

I am hosting a baby shower and need to send out the invitations soon, as we are inviting people who need to make travel plans if they can come. I saw the neon celebrate stamps on a poster at the Post Office, which look perfect. It said March release. It's March 25, but not all post offices will have them today. If Amazon says a book is out March 25, it's delivered to me then. If a movie is due out today, it opens today. So WHY can't the Post Office get these new stamps out on the issue date?

Um, so, well...

Is Sarah Palin backing any of the gop candidates yet ?


It would be kind of weird if she did since she is thinking about running for president herself at the moment ;)

Folks, that's all I have time for...since I have to IMMEDIATELY begin the work of posting the questions for last month's "Politics and Pints" on the Fix ;)

Stay tuned for our latest Senate rankings later today too.

And, just for a little's the fresh off the presses (or something) winner of the "Worst Week in Washington":

Have a great weekend!

In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son.

The Fix
The Live Fix -- Q&A
Worst Week in Washington Live Video
Recent Chats
  • Next: